Mobile technology is gaining in popularity, and many nonprofit organizations are adopting strategies to incorporate the new technology. Fundraising software vendors, in response, have begun offering fundraising software that can be accessed via mobile devices and the cloud. These new features not only add value to the software, but they also enhance the functionality of fundraising software without raising the price, a factor that greatly appeals to nonprofit organizations. In addition to being more tailored to meet the specific needs of nonprofit organizations straight from the box, new fundraising software is often more affordable than the traditional systems.
The following are some of 2012’s top fundraising software trends. Make sure that you keep the following features in mind as you go about selecting your next round of fundraising software:
Even though it is a fairly new feature in fundraising software, email functionality is now a requirement for today’s nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits should take advantage of fundraising software that offers more advanced email capabilities, such as email customization and campaign analysis. By giving nonprofits the ability to customize their emails and track the open/click rates of each campaign, fundraising software helps organizations prepare for future campaigns. While many vendors build their own email functionality into their fundraising software, many choose to integrate with existing email services like Constant Contact.
- Mobile Computing
Almost everyone these days has some sort of mobile device. With these devices now becoming the norm, software vendors of scrambling to optimize fundraising software to support mobile devices. Many vendors are also developing applications (“apps”) designed to help fundraisers gather information about prospects, donors and campaigns and take notes while they are away from the office. Mobile technology gives organizations the freedom to manage their donors and fundraising campaigns either at the office or on the road. Users can also take notes remotely and access them on their mobile devices and work computers. Of all the fundraising software trends, this is quickly becoming the most important of them all.
- “Cloud” Technology
You most likely have heard the term cloud computing (or Software-as-a-Service) in the recent months. Cloud computing connects the user with the information they need, when they needs it. Fundraising software vendors have created web accessible systems to give users the opportunity to access the software from wherever they are. The software is hosted rather than installed, so the vendors perform the setup and maintenance, alleviating the organization’s IT team of the work. Most fundraising software vendors now offer hosted solutions, making it easier for organizations to move into the new technology.
- User Experience
Fundraising software vendors strive for positive user experiences. Vendors are not only providing organizations with the tools they need, but they also giving users the opportunity to customize their user interfaces. Instead of being stuck with the standard interface, users can now rearrange screen elements, rename or hide data fields, and create dashboards. Some fundraising software solutions even let users customize their own settings, creating a more personal user experience.
- Integration with Other Systems
Fundraising software now has the capability to easily integrate with other systems in order to access additional donor information. Many vendors are also working on integrating fundraising software with social media sites. While there has not been much progress made in this area yet, there has been a distinct shift in direction regarding social media integration.
- Enhanced Reporting Features
Fundraising software is now offering stronger reporting capabilities than ever before. Reports now include charts and graphs, and users have the option to add reports to their dashboards in order to stay updated with company-critical information throughout the day.
Current fundraising software trends indicate that vendors are creating software geared toward the users. Whether you are looking to upgrade from your current fundraising software solution or are looking to make your first fundraising software investment, this year’s trends offer many possibilities, such as Abila Fundraising 50 and Abila Fundraising Online, for your organization to succeed in all of its fundraising goals.
RBP Methods helps right-brained people navigate a left-brained world. We offer nonprofit software and consulting services. We’d love to talk to you about your online fundraising or other needs. Contact us today or call 503-648-9051.